Dichter announces run for Kadima leadership

Former Shin Bet chief says Kadima has deteriorated under Livni's leadership, would bring party into ruling coalition.

Avi Dichter 311 AJ (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Avi Dichter 311 AJ
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
MK Avi Dichter on Sunday announced his candidacy in the Kadima party primaries, challenging party leader Tzipi Livni and contender Shaul Mofaz for the chairmanship. The former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief said if he won, he would immediately begin bringing Kadima into the ruling coalition.
At a press conference held at the Kadima party headquarters, Dichter lamented what he described as Kadima's deterioration in the past three years. "Our influence in central issues was zero, even though we (make up) one fourth of the Knesset," he said.
If he wins the primary election, Dichter said, he would immediately begin intensive talks with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to find the right way to increase Kadima's influence on central issues. A party as large as Kadima, he said, cannot remain outside the government.
Kadima is the largest party in the Knesset but was unable to form a majority government, a task given by President Shimon Peres to Netanyahu, who was able to enlist enough smaller right-wing parties to form a coalition.
Last month, Livni announced that primaries would be held on March 27, following announced primaries in Likud, which Netanyahu strongly won.
"This primary will not only decide who will head Kadima but whether the Netanyahu government can be overthrown," Livni said. She has long opposed joining the current government.
Mofaz, late last month, ruled out forming a unity government with Netanyahu and said he would reserve a central post in the party for Livni, should he become chairman.
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.